The establishment media’s fixation on Donald Trump before and after his astonishing 2016 victory over failed presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton has sustained itself post-presidency.
The media on Saturday compiled the following headlines on their webpages to illustrate the fixation:
- The ‘headache’ Trump left behind for Biden on the White House lawn
- Trump Organization must turn over documents to NY attorney general, judge rules
- Fact-checking Trump’s call with Georgia’s secretary of state
- Trump probably can’t pardon himself. He may still try
- How Trump’s fundraising could benefit his post-White House political life
- Cheney plans lengthy fight to turn GOP from Trump
- Trump Justice Dept. secretly obtained Post reporters’ phone records
- Liz Cheney’s months-long effort to turn Republicans from Trump threatens her reelection and ambitions. She says it’s only beginning.
- Trump’s out-of-power agenda: Retribution and GOP domination
- Ohio GOP censures Rep. Gonzalez over Trump vote, calls for his resignation
- Marooned at Mar-a-Lago, Trump Still Has Iron Grip on Republicans
- Justice Dept. Seized Washington Post’s Phone Records
- Inside the Decision on Trump’s Facebook Fate
- Virginia G.O.P.’s Choices for Governor: ‘Trumpy, Trumpier, Trumpiest’
- ‘It’s His Own Damn Fault,’ Top G.O.P. Pollster Says of Trump and Facebook
The reasons for the media’s focus on the Donald is hard to quantify. But the 2016 result of the media’s attention was interpreted by a BBC headline: “Donald Trump: How the media created the president,” which profiled the “evidence of the failure of journalism,” as Professor Jeff Jarvis puts it.
The Washington Times wrote a different explanation, “Donald Trump, imperfect though he is, has all the right enemies: the pundits, the ‘social scientists,’ the Beltway insiders, the academics and the righteous mongers of failed policies.”
Regardless of the media’s proliferation of Trump, they have aimed at Trump’s brand of “straight talk.” For instance, the New Republic ran the headline, “The Sham of Donald Trump’s Straight Talk,” with the subtitle, “How the president exploits our distrust of politicians who talk pretty.”
“Whatever your opinion of Donald Trump, his straight talk and its influence on his foreign policy strategy are reshaping the world, according to a growing number of former officials and experts,” Ozy.com reported. The Daily Gazette fed their readers, “Liberals can’t take Trump’s straight talk,” with the subtitle, “PC has ruined plain speaking.”
Trump’s “sham” straight talk that “Liberals can’t take,” though, gave the establishment media ratings which Forbes details as “The Ratings Bump Of Donald Trump”:
In 2017, MSNBC had its best year ever, increasing its prime-time viewing by 550,000 viewers compared with the previous year… CNN also ranks in the top 10 with audience delivery among cable networks… The New York Times noted that the [Trump-related] interview attracted more viewers than such top-tier specials as the Grammys and Golden Globes.
But today is a post-Trump presidential era, and the establishment media continues their Trump fixation even after social media platforms have done what they can to limit his communication straight to Americans.
Facebook renewed Thursday its suspension of Trump, which Media Research Center’s Brent Bozell suggested is “Another win for censorship and the suppression of dissenting voices, and a loss for free speech. Trump also remains banned on Twitter indefinitely.”
Evidently, the established media, in harmony with their big tech oligarchs, seem soothed that Trump is blatantly restrained. CNN said of Facebook’s suspension, “the ultimate decision from the Oversight Board is a blow to Trump, denying him a sizable platform to use as a bully pulpit as he attempts to retain firm control of the Republican Party while out of office.”
Digital media’s “censorship and suppression” comes amid their favoritism of President Joe Biden. According to a Pew Research Center study, Biden was the most favored president in the last three decades by receiving in his first 60 days only 19 percent negative news coverage.
The previous presidents’ negative ratings, compared by the Washington Examiner, are as follows: Bill Clinton’s (28 percent), George W. Bush’s (28 percent), Barack Obama’s (20 percent), and Donald Trump’s (62 percent).
The media’s coverage of Biden’s presidency has admittedly not rendered the same ratings as Trump’s. The Post concedes it “saw the number of unique visitors fall 26 percent from January to February, and 7 percent from a year ago. The New York Times lost 17 percent compared with January and 16 percent over last February.”
Trump, therefore, is for all intents and purposes, as Axios described, “canceled,” but kept alive as president of “the Republican States of America.”
“Six months removed from his Election Day loss, Trump has emerged from his West Palm Beach hibernation — refashioning himself as the president of the Republican States of America and reshaping the party in ways both micro and macro,” the Post concludes.
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